Skip to main content

John Sculley Gives the Most Honest CEO Interview Ever

Let's be honest: Most CEO interviews are boring.

Boring in the sense that you read them and walk away feeling like the CEO was on autopilot for yet another interview where his or her handlers requested the questions be sent in advance. Like the CEO was just going through the motions to promote the company without really saying anything. Not all CEO interviews feel phoned in, but way too many of them do.

Then there's the interview with former Apple CEO John Sculley, which is just...wow, wow, wow. Here are just a few highlights of what he said:

"Looking back, it was a big mistake that I was ever hired as CEO [of Apple]."

"I came in not knowing anything about computers."

"My sense is that when Steve left (in 1986, after the board rejected his bid to replace Sculley as CEO) I still didn’t know very much about computers."

"My decision was first to fix the company, but I didn’t know how to fix companies and to get it back to be successful again."

"All the design ideas were clearly Steve’s. The one who should really be given credit for all that stuff while I was there is really Steve."

"I made two really dumb mistakes that I really regret because I think they would have made a difference to Apple."

"Apple is not really a technology company. Apple is really a design company."

"I’m actually convinced that if Steve hadn’t come back when he did — if they had waited another six months — Apple would have been history. It would have been gone, absolutely gone."

"I wanted to leave Apple. At the end of 10 years, I didn’t want to stay any longer. I wanted to go back to the east coast."

I admire Sculley's willingness to admit his shortcomings and to give proper credit to others. Even though it's been years since he worked at Apple, it still took guts to be this honest for public consumption. Not many leaders, past or present, are willing to be this open, which makes an interview like this one so refreshing and different. It's worth a read.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Seven tips for dealing with a jealous coworker

Look at you, doing so well at work! We're so happy for you. Well, most of us are happy for you and refuse to spend the entire work day talking behind your back. Let's talk about how to handle our jealous co-workers!Like every other professional, you've no doubt experienced your share of failures and successes. Lately, however, things seem to be going your way at work. And how! Perhaps you've managed to ace an important project this quarter, been instrumental in landing a huge client, earned some well-deserved rewards for this and that, or -- egads! -- been given a slight promotion or additional work responsibilities (e.g., the work responsibilities you actually want).You're quietly chuffed, but somehow your co-workers seem none too pleased with this rapid turn of events. Oh no, what should you do now?It's a workplace tale older than the disjointed last season of Mad Men. The playing field in the department was even, cozy and overall very friendly -- until so-an…

Employees Blame Technology For Slowing Them Down At Work

Do you feel like you're always working, but never getting very much done? If so, you're not alone. Too much technology, and too much red tape, keep slowing us down at work. But technology, and more of it, is supposed to make our lives easier! Too much technology, however, does not compute for employees. A new SAP/Knowledge@Wharton survey of almost 700 corporate employees finds a full 60% of respondents blame technology "for inhibiting their ability to meet strategic goals." Gee, anyone who has ever used the self-checkout line at the grocery store can tell you that. However, 40% surveyed said that looking for ways to simplify the technology has been "a low priority" for their company. Too much paperwork is an on-going problem for the workplace, too. A new ServiceNow survey of nearly 1,000 managers finds that 90% are doing too much administrative work, no matter the size of the company. This paperwork includes filling out forms, writing status updates, …

Is Your Co-worker Always Late For Work?

You've started the workday, but where is your co-worker? Oh, she's running late again, just like yesterday. And the day before. And the day before that. Let's get an early start on solving her tardiness problem, shall we? Working with someone who is consistently late is one of the most annoying aspects of office life, and also one of the most common, unfortunately. It's a universal theme of the workplace that everyone will get to work on time (give or take a few minutes...) except for the employee who is egregiously late nearly every day. And the excuses can get pretty amazing. Employees became more punctual as the Great Recession lingered, at least according to surveys. Everyone, that is, except for your able-bodied but habitually-tardy co-worker. It's bad enough dealing with tardiness when you're a manager, but it can be even more frustrating when you're a rank-and-file peer without any magical "shape up or ship out" managerial powers. So you…